Trade Secrets 2018- Wethersfield Garden

Thankfully the weather held out for the Sunday Garden tours this year unlike Saturday’s Garden and Rare Plant Sale at Lion Rock Farm. Wethersfield Garden in Amenia, NY is a beautifully manicured ten acre garden surrounding the home of the late Chauncey D. Stillman. The gardens were created in a classical style similar to the Italian villas found in the 17th century.

In every direction the Garden takes full advantage of the views and creates rooms and spaces with statues, steps, water features and plant materials. It was created on a north-south and east-west axis by Landscape Architect Bryan J. Lynch and then Evelyn N. Poehler.

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The Garden relies on the architecture of varying shades and textures of plant material that marry themselves into the natural landscape starting immediately upon arrival in the East Garden. Besides the sculpted yews there are Korean dogwoods, azaleas, lilacs, rhododendrons and magnolias. The four corners of this garden feature the most magnificent European Weeping Beech trees trimmed into cylindrical shape. Sorry the Garden geek in me was drooling!

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The north wall in the East Garden features the Cupid Fountain surrounded by a fieldstone retaining wall that supports Sedum, Campanula and Ivy.

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When you look to the south through the Arborvitae Arch which is flanked by two figurines playing pipes the views of the countryside unfold. These statues are called the “Pan Pipers”. This area features Witch Hazel, Hawthorne, Elderberry and Gray Dogwood.

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The reflecting pool has a black interior that allows the surrounding shrubs to reflect onto the water’s surface. The surrounding yews are shaped into globes and cones.

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The Inner Garden was originally designed when the house was built.

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In the Knot Garden the flower tubs on either sides of the steps supposedly were designed by the architect Stanford White so they plant them with white petunias in his honor.

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The Pine Terrace so named for the White Pine in the center of the stone terrace. A goldfish pond with its frogs and Iris and Agapanthas and Clivia that attract hummingbirds.

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The Allee is flanked with Cupid urns that encourage “silence” in the garden. This area features a 12′ wide lawn and a bronze statute “Naiad” by a Swedish sculptor Carl Milles.

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The Trade Secrets Garden tours are always a wonderful opportunity to tour private gardens that we can get ideas from for our own gardens even if only in our dreams.

Attracting Pollinators to your Garden

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Black Eyed Susans – Rudbeckia

Pollinators are crucial to the production of most fruits, nuts and berries including apples, oranges, tomatoes and blueberries.  There are many plants that will attract hummingbirds, butterflies and bees to your property.  In order to attract these pollinators plant a succession of blooming annuals, perennials and shrubs so pollen is available throughout the growing season. Planting flowers in large drifts and different shapes will also help attract pollinators. Just as we can’t find a ‘needle in a haystack’ neither can they.  One plant will not say ‘COME HERE’ to my yard!  Be Bold!

Butterflies are attracted to red, yellow, and purple blossoms that are flat topped or clustered and have short flower tubes and they prefer to feed only in the sun. Sunflowers, Zinnias, Lupines, Red-osier Dogwood,  Chokecherry and Asters are a few. Female butterflies select specific plants on which to lay their eggs. The Monarch butterfly relies on Ascelpias – Butterfly weed as it serves as a Host and Nectar plant.

 

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Verbena bonariensis
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Yarrow

Hummingbirds are attracted to scarlet, orange, red or white tubular flowers sipping nectar from long tubular honeysuckle flowers as well as Verbena, Zinnias and Penstemon.

Bees are attracted to bright white, yellow or blue and purple flowers so plant several colors in your yard to attract a variety of pollinators such as Black-eyed Susan’s and Sunflowers. Bees, unlike Hummingbirds and Butterflies feed only on flowers gathering nectar and pollen.

You will get hours of enjoyment watching the hummingbirds and butterflies dance around your garden and think of all the cut flowers you will have for bouquets!

Some Plants that attract polliantors:

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Joe Pye Weed

 

 

 

 

 

Salvia guaranitica; Asceplias; Agastache; Asters; Verbena bonariensis; Rudbeckia – Black-eyed Susans; Lavender; Lespedeza;  Leucanthemum- Daisy; Ligularia, Coreposis, Helianthus annus- Sunflowers; Baptisa, Catmint, Solidago – Goldenrod, (not to be confused with Ragweed); Lilacs, Antirrhinum – Snapdragons; Buddleia – Butterfly Bush; Zinnias, Penstemon; Phlox; Allium, Cosmos, Monarda- Bee balm- Eupatorium- Joe Pye weed; Columbine; Echinacea- Coneflower; Achillea millefolium – Yarrow to name just a few.

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Bleeding Hearts – Dicentra spectabilis

 

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Phlox ‘David’
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Zinnias

A great source for plants to attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds to your garden is White Flower Farm.  They can help you select a variety of plants to keep a steady supply of pollen and nectar available all throughout the growing season. You can find them at  White Flower Farm

 

Do you want more ideas for Pollinators? Here is a previous Blog-A few more Pollinators

A Day in the Country- Trade Secrets

With Trade Secrets being this weekend in CT I thought you might be interested in this blog I wrote several years ago on the Saturday event which is always a widely anticipated event by plant geeks everywhere.  People come from far and wide to attend, booking their hotel rooms a year in advance!  Many of the vendors come every year so although this blog is from several years ago the information is very relevant to this weekends show in Sharon!

Trade Secrets is a two-day event which started 18 years ago in Bunny Williams backyard. This event is the foremost fundraiser for Women’s Support Services which offers crisis intervention, counseling and education, as well as legal, medical, and housing assistance to fulfill its mission of creating a community free of domestic violence.  Women’s Support Services is a nonprofit organization that provides free and confidential aid to victims of domestic violence and abuse. WSS provides a 24 hour hotline, (860) 364.1900 short-term emergency shelter, counseling, legal advocacy, education and emergency support for those in need.

The proceeds from Trade Secrets 2018 will help WSS fund programs that teach children about healthy relationships and conflict resolution and will help fund operation of their 24-hour hotline. If you missed it this year mark your calendar for next year like Martha Stewart.

“Sadly 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence in their lives” (National Violence Against Women Survey, 2000)

The mission of WSS is to create a community free of domestic violence and abuse through intervention, prevention and education.

Trade Secrets is the premiere Rare Plant & Garden Antique Sale of the season on Saturday with Private Garden tours on Sunday! Today I will take you on a tour of the Rare Plant & Garden Antique Sale.

The plant and antique sale is held yearly at Lion Rock Farm in Sharon, CT.  This is a stunning property overlooking Amenia, NY located in one of the most scenic areas in northwest CT. There were antiques of every variety, rare plants that you can only find here as well as perennials, vegetables and annuals for sale.  There are trees and shrubs, containers and planters, statuary and towers, peonies, roses, and lavender.  You name it and I am sure you can find it here.

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Lion Rock Farm
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Plant towers

Plants in every shape and color to buy

 

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Lion Rock Farm
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Pool at Lion Rock
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Lion Rock
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Pots from Campo de’ Fiori, Sheffield, MA
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Topiaries in all shapes and sizes

 

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Ready for take off

 

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Every garden needs one of these

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Need backyard furniture?

 

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Splish, splash!

 

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I want this gate!

 

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Antiques

 

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Lilacs

Bye till next year!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Arrangements & Flowering Plants

After a long winter I love to bring color back into my home as soon as possible. The houseplants have done their duty and brightened the gray days as best they can but now we all want some color!

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When planning your garden or rejuvenating it remember to plan for a variety of sizes, colors, sounds, shapes and textures to provide movement for the eye and a wide variety for bouquets and of course, to support pollinators.

Here are some early spring stars for bouquets that can be used to create the base or backbone of your floral arrangements:

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Tulips

Trees and shrubs – use the branches and flowers: Magnolia, Lilacs, Viburnum, Quince, Andromeda, Forsythia, Fothergilla, Ninebarks ( Physocarpus), Serviceberry (Amelanchier), Spirea, Deutzia, Azalea and Rhododendrons, Redbuds, Mock Orange, Red or Yellow Twig Dogwoods, Corylopsis (Winterhazel), Crabapples, Cherry and Apricot trees.

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Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Alexandrina’ saucer magnolia
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Flowering Cherry
Lilacs Robert Courturier
A Lilac allee’

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Forsythia on the Hudson River at NYBG

Spring flowers that are ideal for arrangements: Peonies, Hyacinths, Tulips, Daffodils, Lilacs, Alliums, Muscari, Pasque Flowers, Frittilaria, Roses, and Ranunculus to name a few!

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Muscari
Allium
Alliums
Daffodil field- Laurel Ridge
Daffodils as far as the eye can see!
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Pasque flower

Here are my top picks for more spring flowering perennials and bulbs.

Hellebores, Siberian Iris, Primrose, Feverfew, Alliums, Wisteria, Amsonia, Baptisa, Bleeding Hearts, Lady’s Mantle, Epimedium, Roses, Hypericum, Solomon’s Seal, Hosta leaves and Lobelias

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Bleeding Hearts – Dicentra spectabilis
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Siberian Iris

Also, don’t forget veggies when making arrangements.  Think about baby carrots, artichokes and curly kale and parsley.

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I love to pair Siberian Iris, Nepeta, Sage, Allium Globemaster or Gladiator, Amsonia and Baptisa and I mix them with Daylilies, Heuchera and Grasses for all season bloom after the spring flush is done.

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My spring garden

If you want to have flowers for cutting be sure to plant in large drifts not one here and one there. Planning for the next season now will yield you beautiful arrangements all year!

Are you interested in how I created my garden from scratch in just a few months? Here is a link to: Anatomy of a New Garden

Trade Secrets 2017 – The Major General Ashley House

This eighteenth century house sits on an incredible piece of property overlooking the Housatonic River. Mature sugar maples, black locusts and an ancient willow make this property one to behold. The property is naturalized with daffodils and ferns beneath these mighty trees as well as other spring bulbs. The lawn slopes down to the bend in the river compelling you to stop and take it all in!

A formal garden of boxwood parterres and brick paths frame the front of the house. Wooden tuteurs in the center are clematis supports with the beds being filled with tulips in spring and Peonies and Russian Sage in summer.  The garden is enclosed with the quintessential wooden picket fence and a spirea hedge with crabapples surrounding the garden giving some relief from the road.

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Have you ever tried to espalier a tree? Look how beautiful!

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If this doesn’t say come relax and enjoy the beauty I don’t know what does!

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Housatonic River

Entry into the pool area is through this door a unique element in the privet hedge encouraging you to see what is beyond.

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The pool house

 

The gardens were filled with blooming bleeding hearts in several varieties and color variations

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Bleeding Hearts
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A child’s swing just waiting for you to play.

Did you miss the other Trade Secrets Open Gardens? Here is a link to Coltsfoot Garden 

For more information on Trade Secrets and Women’s Support Services see earlier blogs.

See all the Blogs on Garden Conservancy Days, trips to Italy, and stay tuned for my upcoming trip to Tuscany and Venice in the coming weeks.

Trade Secrets 2017 – Coltsfoot Garden

One of the private gardens open this year for Trade Secrets was Coltsfoot Garden in Cornwall, CT.  This is an enchanting cottage garden that along with the colonial home has been in this family for almost 100 years.  Upon arrival you are immediately dawn in by the multi-colored lilac trees surrounding the garden, the crabapple trees and the surrounding landscape.  This is Litchfield county CT at its finest.

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The garden while formal in structure is welcoming and plants are encouraged to self sow wherever they can find a spot.

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There is a newly added second vegetable garden placed closer to the house, surrounded by a picket fence, gravel paths and artful colorscaping of vegetables like asparagus, lettuces, peas, beans, tomatoes, peppers and rhubarbs. Plants are staked using branches and twigs in artful and rustic ways.

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There are perennial gardens framing a neighbor’s old barn featuring boxwood, peonies, crabapple trees, dwarf Alberta Spruce, roses, irises, bachelor buttons, spurge,  and daylilies which create a delightfully soft, uncluttered effect.

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Gravel paths are created in a geometric pattern to facilitate your winding your way throughout with their edges being blurred by lady’s mantle, nepeta (my favorite plant) and others.

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This is another garden area with an ingenious method of taming climbing vines. This garden features, raspberries, vegetables, peonies for cut flowers.  I suggest if you love to have cut flowers in your home and hate the idea of cutting in your ornamental beds that you plant a separate area for cutting flowers both perennial and annuals for all season flowers.  Don’t forget to use your greens like hostas, astible,  solomon’s seal, grasses and branches etc. to fill in.

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This couple lovingly maintains the property coaxing dahlias, hydrangeas, lilacs and roses to thrive year after year.  The formal yet informal design of the garden allows for times of not too much fuss!

Thank you to the Hubbard’s for opening their garden to us for Trade Secrets Open Garden Tours 2017. Can’t wait for 2018!

I have written many times over the years about the Trade Secrets event which takes place in mid-May each year.  You can read more about this fabulous event in previous blogs.

Trade Secrets

Trade Secrets GardenTours

Trade Secrets Garden Tours part 2

 

 

 

 

Trade Secrets 2016

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Another amazing Trade Secrets event!  This year’s Trade Secrets was held on May 14th and 15th. After 16 years it has grown exponentially to become the garden event of the season! Created by Bunny Williams as a major fundraiser for Women’s Support Services which offers crisis intervention, counseling and education as well as other assistance to foster a community free of domestic violence this agency provides a broad range of services beyond just emergency services.  Their goal is create a community free of domestic violence and abuse through intervention, prevention and education.

Trade Secrets is an annual rare plant and garden antiques sale held on Saturday with tours of various private gardens on Sunday.  This year’s garden tours were sold out!  Luckily I always get my tickets well in advance. The support from the community with people traveling great distances to attend confirms that when we come together to fight a cause we have strength in numbers.

This year on Saturday I was so busy buying that I didn’t even get a chance to take pictures.  I actually had to make a trip home to unload a very packed car and go back to get the rest of my purchases.  Might I add that I live about an hour away!

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Antiques galore!
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Support towers and Peony rings from Old Farm Nursery – needless to say my garden is filled with these

 

The vendors on Saturday are diverse and very knowledgeable in their respective fields, be it antiques, orchids or trees. The handcrafted metalwork to support your clematis, peonies and perennials is truly one of my favorites.  This year I was on a mission since I have a new garden.  I went early and had a plan.  I zipped around like a “crazy lady” as my husband would say before the things I wanted were gone.  I got Japanese Maple trees, Lilacs, shrubs, perennials, peony rings, antique gates, pottery and hose guards.   We should have bought more of those!  Like I said 2 SUV’s full and I still had to make a third trip early Sunday morning to Old Farm Nursery to pick up the rest of my loot that wouldn’t fit in the previous 2 trips!

Did I mention I love this event!  Of course, my favorite day is always Sunday.  I love exploring new gardens that you only get into by invitation.  This year I went to both the garden of Judy and Patrick Murphy of Old Farm Nursery in Lakeville, CT a wonderful New England Farm showcasing a fruit tree allee, secret garden and swimming pool, a river garden and breathtaking views. Next stop for us was the historic Weatherstone estate.  This is the CT home of Carolyne Roehm.  Weatherstone is a vast property with horse barns, boxwood topiaries, a pool, tennis courts, a fruit orchard and an unbelievable peony border that surrounds a cutting garden and potager. I have been many times to the spectacular property of Bunny Williams and John Roselli and also to Michael Trapp’s in West Cornwall so we skipped those this time. Words are not necessary to describe any of these properties but WOW sums it up nicely!

Come tour with me these lovely gardens!  thank you to both the Murphy’s and Carolyne Roehm for opening your homes!

 

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Old Farm- wouldn’t you love to have this much room for veggies!

 

It is hard to describe Weatherstone. It didn’t disappoint!  Carolyne is a meticulous designer and plans every detail of her gardens.

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Planting plans
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View back from the horse barns

 

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Weatherstone
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A guest house
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Wouldn’t you just love to sit here!
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Side gardens with tulips and roses
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Back patio with Hydrangea standards
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Blue and white her favorite!

And lastly, no tour of this property would be complete without at least a few pictures of flowers since Carolyne is known for those gorgeous bouquets!

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White tulips

Bye till next year! Save the dates- May 20 & 21, 2017.  A big thank you also to all the volunteers who make this event possible and to Lion Rock Farm for opening their property to all of us on Saturday.

“Bunny Williams’ and John Roselli’s longstanding love affair with their Falls Village home becomes abundantly clear after a stroll through the gardens.  John’s vegetable and cutting garden reflect his skills in the kitchen while Bunny’s eclectic aesthetic is evident in her entertaining spaces – from the greenhouse to the Greek temple-style pool house.  Together, the two have created a well-curated journey from the sunken formal garden to the wildflower-dense woodland, by way of heirloom apple trees and charming heritage-breed chickens.”

Again, I have been fortunate enough to have been to this property at least 4 times over the years for both Trade Secrets events and Garden Conservancy Days. This is a compilation of my journey through their gardens.

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Greek temple style Pool House

 

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Pool House

 

 

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Sunken Garden – her first outdoor project on the property

 

 

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Conservatory – my favorite room

 

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The Aviary

 

 

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Cutting and vegetable gardens

 

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Michael Trapp’s Garden is an “Old World-style garden and reflects his renowned aesthetic and eye for detail.  Overlooking the Housatonic River, the intimate property has a distinctive French/Italian flavor with cobbled paths, terraced gardens, raised perennial beds and reflecting pools.”  Cornwall Bridge is a lovely spot to visit and watch the kayak races on the river or just to check out the Covered Bridge and grab some lunch.

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Down to the river

Garden Tours – Part 2 – Trade Secrets 2015

As promised here is another garden from the Trade Secrets Garden Tours a few weeks ago. This property is TWIN MAPLES

“Nestled atop Selleck Hill, Twin Maples seamlessly marries the classical and the natural: Formal gardens, cutting and vegetable gardens, and a greenhouse ring the exquisite Georgian-style house overlooking 40 acres of wildflower meadow.  The meadow, woodland garden, and woodland edges, resplendent with native plants, blur the borders between the formal areas and the surrounding landscape.”

I have been fortunate enough to visit this lovely garden twice.  Here are my memories.

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To the Greenhouse

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Twin Maples Apple Allee

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Moon Gate

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Summer blossoms- Phlox and Coneflowers

 

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Hydrangeas abound

 

 

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What a view!
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A long winding road

 

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